The Joffrey Academy of Dance Presents WINNING WORKS: CHOREOGRAPHERS OF COLOR AWARDS 2014, 3/1

The Joffrey Academy of Dance Presents WINNING WORKS: CHOREOGRAPHERS OF COLOR AWARDS 2014, 3/1

The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, presents the fourth annual Winning Works: Choreographers of Color Award, featuring three World Premieres by rising-star choreographers Justin Allen, Stephanie Batten Bland and Norbert De La Cruz III. The three World Premieres, along with Academy Co-Artistic Director Alexei Kremnev's restaging of Le Roi S'Amuse, are performed by the international members of the Joffrey Academy Trainee Program at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 East Randolph Drive, one night only, Saturday, March 1 at 7:00 pm.

Stefanie Batten Bland's piece Chiral, consisting of eight women and two men, is a fusion of contemporary and classical dance vocabulary exploring behavioral patterns of the body in symmetrical and non-symmetrical orders. The women in this piece switch between dancing on and off pointe, reflecting both masculine and feminine nature.

Justin Allen's Stillness in Motion was derived from the idea that even in constant movement, one can find moments of breath and stillness, and even in moments of stillness one can find continuous motion. Stillness in Motion is set to contemporary classical music by Ezio Bosso.

Norbert De La Cruz III's untitled piece, also for seven women and three men, aims to tell his own story of deeply personal relationships. The idea of "presence" versus "vanishing" guides his exploration of mistake and fear through the medium of contemporary ballet.

The Winning Works program also includes Kremnev's restaging of Le Roi S'Amuse. Set to recorded music composed by Leo Delibes and performed by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, this piece is inspired by the six ancient dances and thematic material written for the ball scene in a Comedie-Francaise production of Victor Hugo's 1882 play Le Roi S'Amuse.

"Dance remains a 'universal' language. People from all backgrounds dance, and communicate, without sharing words. Dance is a powerful bridge. With Winning Works, we celebrate all that is different and all that is universal amongst us," stated Ashley Wheater, Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director.

"Winning this award was a huge honor and one of the greatest successes of my choreographic career," said 2013 WinnerWilliam McClellan. "The dancers were a complete joy to work with and we learned and grew together through the process."

Ticket Information

Tickets for the Winning Works: Choreographers of Color Award 2014 at the Harris Theater are $20 in advance and $23 at the door. Tickets can be purchased in advance by visiting or calling the Harris Theater Box Office at 312-334-7777 or online

About the Choreographers

Stefanie Batten Bland adds to Mary Batten and Ed Bland's artistic legacy of writing and music with her own layer of dance. She has been recognized as a 2010-12 Baryshnikov Arts Center Artist in Residence and a Jerome Robbins "NEW Fellow," and a 2011-12 Cambridge Who's Who of Professionals and Entrepreneurs. Stefanie has danced for Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Pal Frenak, Georges Momboye, Pina Bausch Tanz Theater Wuppertal, Lar Lubovitch, Julie Taymor and Angelin Preljocaj, among others. Stefanie created Company Stefanie Batten Bland in 2008 in France so that she might better investigate the human condition and our relationship within the natural world. Her works are based in dance, with a strong instillation component which allows futuristic worlds to take place in space and time. The troupe has performed live and via dance cinema, throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the States. Stefanie has also set pieces on Ailey ll, Danceland of Singapore, Zenon Dance Company of Minneapolis and is currently guest choreographer for Transitions Dance Company of London.

Justin Allen was born in Baltimore, Maryland and began his dance training at the Baltimore School for the Arts. In 2004, he began his training at The Rock School for Dance Education and completed his education in the Rock Academics Program Alliance. From 2004-2008, he spent his summers training with the Miami City Ballet School. In 2008, Justin received his first opportunity to dance as a professional guest artist with The Dayton Ballet, which led to him receiving his first professional contract. In 2009, Justin joined The Ballet Theatre of Maryland where he performed as a soloist and in 2010 he became full time faculty and a choreographer at The Rock School.

Norbert De La Cruz III was born in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines and raised in Los Angeles, California. He began his artistic journey at 13 years of age by training at the Gabriella Foundation in LA, The LA County High School for the Arts, ABT NYC, San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Lines Ballet, NWPDP, NDT Summer Course. Norbert graduated from The Juilliard School in 2010 with a BFA in dance. Upon graduation, he balanced a career as a professional dancer, photographer, and emerging choreographer. Norbert has danced professionally as a soloist with the Metropolitan Opera House, Aszure Barton & Artists, Jchen Project, Balletto Teatro di Torino (Italy), Gallim, Sydney Skybetter & Associates, Lustig Dance Theatre, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. He has performed works by some of our world's most current and historically renowned teachers and choreographers including Jose Limon, David Parker, Adam Hougland, Johannes Wieland, Ohad Naharin, Aszure Barton, Jerome Robbins, Larry Keigwin, Jeremy McQueen, Jessica Chen, Dwight Rhoden, Desmond Richardson, Lightfoot & Leon, Crystal Pite, Alonzo King, and Jiri Kylian.

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